The decision to live in an on-base house or an off-base one can be a complicated one. That being said, living on-base can have a lot of benefits. You are close to your spouse’s job, more connected with your military community and you don’t have to worry about any of the things those that live off-base do.
However, when you do live in an on-base house, your home looks exactly like your neighbors. They are usually pretty uniform and trying to be an individual can be difficult. The good news is that there are things you can do to make your space more you and fun for you and your family.
Here are 5 life hacks to make your on-base house feel like a home that’s off-base:
1. Rugs. When we were in Germany we had hardwood floors. Old, hardwood floors. The floors needed something so we went to the local Exchange and bought a few rugs. They were not that expensive and added color and a new feel to our apartment.
They also helped with the sound since we were on the third floor. You can really change the look of your on-base house by adding rugs to your floors. You could even add them to carpet, especially if you are not a fan of what your on-base house has for carpet.
2. Paint. You might not think you can paint inside on-base housing and sometimes you can’t. Other times you can as long as you get the paint approved by housing and know that you will have to paint the walls white again before you move out.
If you do want to paint, talk to your housing office and see what is allowed. Even painting an accent wall can add a lot to your on-base house. You can go with a color that represents you and feels more at home in your on-base housing.
3. Garden. Making your own garden is another great way to make your on-base house look like your own home. If you have a yard, you can make your garden there. If not, you can always do a patio or window garden. You could also use containers.
Make sure you pre-approve any garden plants in your yard with the housing office. You might not be able to do exactly what you would want to do but there will always be a way to have a small garden. This can add to the way your home looks on the outside and help you stand out from everyone else in your military neighborhood.
4. Decor. What you put in your on-base house in terms of decor is going to make all the difference. You can go with themes or just find items you really love.
When you first move into your new home you should make a plan about how you want things to look like. Think about what your own style is and what each room can be themed. Some people will do different themes such as beach or Americana. Others like to play with color.
5. Yard Sales. Going to yard sales and thrift stores is the most economical way to make your on-base house look like your own. In any military community, people are always moving and always trying to sell their belongings. You should be able to find a lot of great items for your home this way.
You can also sell your items that won’t work in your current home to make room for new items that will. I have bought almost all of the picture frames in my house from yard sales and thrift stores and saved a lot of money doing so.